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Car warranties: what do they actually cover?Back

CarWarrantyWhen you buy a new car, it will always be covered by a warranty, but it’s important to be aware of what the warranty will actually cover, and for how long.

In simple terms, a car warranty provides an extended guarantee on your car to ensure that if something goes wrong, you will not be left to pick up the bill, so the aim when buying a new or used car is to come away with the best warranty you can.

Most new cars will come with a manufacturer’s warranty, but once this expires, car owners will have to pay for any damage to their vehicle. It is therefore, well worth looking into extended warranty protection to make sure you are covered even if your original guarantee has come to an end.

Part of the appeal of buying a new car is that in most circumstances it is far less likely to develop a mechanical failure, and if it does, the manufacturer warranty will cover the damage. However, while warranties are designed to protect owners from costly bills, their conditions can vary dramatically, so it’s well worth looking in detail at the small print to ascertain exactly what is covered.

Choose a new car from Kia and you’ll benefit from a car offering seven years or 100,000 miles warranty. However, if you look more closely, you’ll discover that paint defects are only covered for up to five years, whilst the audio system is covered for just three years. Breakdown cover is also included, but only for the first year.

Hyundai, Kia’s sister firm offers new car owners a five year warranty which includes audio cover and free breakdown cover for the full duration. Hyundai will also cover clutches, brakes and battery damage for two years and suspension bushes for five years, none of which is covered by Kia.

Subaru and Toyota also offer five-year warranties, but again paintwork is only guaranteed for a period of three years, whilst Renault offers a four-year warranty which includes a full four years of audio cover and breakdown cover, but only three years of paint cover.

Finally, it seems that Vauxhall has really gone to town by offering buyers an attractive ‘lifetime’ warranty, but sadly if you think this sounds too good to be true, you are right. The warranty is in fact only limited to 100,000 miles, which in reality amounts to approximately eight years of mileage, with paintwork defects only covered for one year and anti-perforation (a standard 12 years throughout the industry) capped after just six years.

In fact, Vauxhall’s warranty is no better than many of the standard three year warranties, if not worse. The reason being that the vast majority of warranties are designed to allow buyers to transfer them with the car they apply to, so the next owner can benefit. Vauxhall’s warranty doesn’t do this unless the car has done less than 500 miles or is being purchased at less than 12 months old through the Network Q scheme.

When purchasing a used car, experts say it’s difficult to quantify whether having a warranty adds to the car’s value, but it certainly makes it stand out against other similarly aged rivals without one.


Posted by Leana Kell on 30/05/2014